At the risk of being dubbed a female chauvinist, the only thought that runs through my mind at the close of last year and the beginning of this one is summed in the common statement, “a woman’s got to do what a woman’s got to do.”
As I meditated on this thought, I knew what I had to do. It is a sunny Friday morning in Nairobi and the atmosphere does not favour anyone, not even the domestic animals.
This urge to be in a place where I can climb mountains “literally” has been welling within me. All I could think of was Rwanda, Kigali more specifically.
Armed with my basic essentials and my CV, I head to Kampala coach, the bus company that would ferry me to my next phase of life. I boarded the bus at 1430hours; gratefully leaving Nairobi’s scotching sun, yet not knowing what waited ahead.
The journey proves long and sometimes even treacherous. By the time we reach Eldoret, a town in the Kenyan Rift Valley province, I had tossed and turned on my seat and could not wait for the stop over.
As I marvel at the beautiful red, orange and yellow hues of sunset, snippets and phrases from Paulo Coelho’s book, Alchemist come to mind.
The most inspirational being, “the greatness of a man is determined by the course he lives for and the price he is willing to pay for its achievement”.
“What course was I willing to live for?” I wondered, “What price was I willing to pay?”
It was getting dark but I could not sleep. Seated next to me is a tall attractive man. From the telephone conversations he has had as we rode, it was obvious he frequently travelled this route. All my efforts to start a conversation were in vain.
Even my attempt to drop my pen in the hope that picks it, bore no fruit. We are in Nyanza province of Kenya in a town called Kisumu and yet another stop over. It was around 2300hrs and yet passengers want to eat, regardless of the late hour.
I tried accessing the internet through my phone but failed. The light from the full moon had lit the bus and I could see that my neighbour was not asleep as well and was looking at my phone.
“Those things don’t work,” he commented. The ice was finally broken.
“Hi, my name is Mike, what’s yours?” I complied. We reached Kampala at 0300hrs and had a fifteen minutes break before setting off again.
The next stop over was at daylight in western Uganda, at a town called Mbarara. The heat that I thought I had run from in Kenya was even worse here.
It is amazing how noticeable the difference at the Uganda- Rwanda border is. I had no idea how clean a country is capable of being until I came to Rwanda.
The customs officers are a little bit polite compared to the Kenya and Uganda ones. Steep mountains and valleys cover most of the country.
It is like a series of long, sharply defined hills, with steep convex slopes and flat ridges that are intersected by deep valleys.
At the border, I was welcomed with a delicacy that I later learned was cassava leaves prepared in a way I had never imagined vegetables could be prepared. It was delicious.
The East African Community aims at widening and deepening co-operation among the partner states and other regional economic communities in, political, economic and social fields for their mutual benefit.
There is diversity in foods that we have as East Africans and should be proud of that. For example I had never eaten the famous ground nut sauce from Uganda and I am sure not many have eaten the rather confusing mixture of maize and beans popularly known as “Githeri” from Kenya.
I loved Kigali from the first moment I set my eyes on her, the cleanliness, her people, and mostly the landscape. To me this will be like the Kenyan coast of which it is said “it is so easy to go in but difficult to get out.”